Politics is about trade-offs, about striking a balance between a range of opposing opinions and powers.
Some of the things where a balance has to be properly struck:
Parliament looks nothing like the people it serves. Australia is a nation much more ethnically diverse than the US or the UK, yet the parliament is whiter than the US Congress or the British House of Commons. Gender balance is amiss too, with only 13 of 76 government seats held by women.
Anzac war memorials and memorials to the First Nations’ Frontier wars. $1.8 billion will be spent between 2014 and 2028 for the former, while less than $100,000 is planned to be spent on the latter, yet the death toll is comparable.
Market forces and the needs of social democracy. Balance between profit and wage growth, between the need to trade with global partners and losing jobs to them, between regional and metropolitan Australia.
Between the way we live and the impacts that it has on the environment. Mitigating the harm from global warming whilst maintaining good levels of health and prosperity for all.
The biggest imbalance of all is in the way the country shares its resources. The balance between the signs of greed we see in society and those in need.
The tax system is where we have the biggest imbalances and problems. While billionaire’s wealth rose 140% in a decade, the wages of ordinary Australians increased by just 36%. As US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says, “Every billionaire is a policy failure.”
Don Meij, boss of fast-food chain Domino’s Pizza, earned $36.8 million in 2017, and while he earned $18,000 per hour his staff have just lost their penalty rates for working on Sunday. Along with 700,000 retail, fast food, pharmacy and warehouse workers, these reductions of 10% to 15% took effect in July 2018.
But to strike the right balance between all the above, it is the balance that is missing between the opposing forces in Australian politics that is most important of all, because without that none of the others will be settled. But in an era of increasing polarization, this balance between opposing political parties is proving ever more difficult to achieve.
Step by step, post by post, we’ll examine the reasons for these imbalances and inequities and how they can be put right. And we’ll try and do it in the most balanced way possible!